October was a decent month of watching fun things. I was able to see a nice chunk of scary and horror film titles, more than a few Scooby-Doo films, and some interesting TV shows that I shall be continuing with in November, if it didn’t wrap-up already, that is. I’ve had some health relapses, so being in bed gave me ample time to catch up on my backlogs, which I always appreciate. Check it all out below!
The Guilty (2021) [Netflix]: A thriller about a police dispatcher who receives a call from a woman that seems to be abducted. He tries to help her through a terrifying situation. I only picked this up because it had Jake Gyllenhaal in it and I believe that he’s a supremely underrated actor, mostly with his later works. The film is basically a two hour long anxiety attack of watching a cop trying to help people while dealing with his own pile of baggage. It’s excellently paced, written, and tense. I loved it and HIGHLY RECOMMEND it to fans of psychological thrillers. CW: Strong language. Mention of child abuse, child death, abduction, addiction, and severe mental illnesses.
Miss Meadows (2015) [Prime]: A slow-burn thriller about a prim and proper young woman named Miss Meadows who has a very dark undertone to her personality. This is a film that’s definitely character and dialogue focused above all else. In that sense, it’s a tiny bit cerebral, but outside of it, it’s a character examination of the fine lines between right and wrong, and when shades of grey become a necessary part of the justice system. Another amazing surprise for the month. RECOMMENDED for folx that like slow-burn, feminist murder mysteries and thrillers. CW: Strong language. Graphic death. Some blood and violence. A scene of graphic sexual harassment. Some consensual sexual content. Mention of child abuse, family death, and sexism. Preparation and consumption of food.
Look Away (2018) [Prime]: A psychological horror drama about a young teen girl named Maria whose life goes into chaos overload when she trades places with her literal mirror image as a way to cope with bullying and loneliness. This was an impromptu watch on an insomnia-ridden evening and it was so intense and tragic. It’s excellent if one enjoys dark, sinister, and gritty horror dramas, especially ones that revolve dysfunctional families and fucked-up rich kids. The pacing is gradual with a keen eye for details, and India Eisley’s acting was phenomenal. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for horror fans, especially if you’re looking for less gore and body mutilation and more intellectual stimulation. CW: Strong language. Some strong scenes involving blood and death. Representations of eating disorders, depression, teenage bullying and sexual harassment, and objectification of teen girls. Brief discussions of infidelity, mental illness, and suicide.
Till Death (2021) [Netflix]: A psychological thriller about a woman who goes away for the weekend with her husband. When she awakes, he handcuffs himself to her and then shoots himself in the head, leaving behind a wildly disturbing enigma and a high stakes mess for the wife to clean up. The trailer popped up on Netflix and I decided to see this latest from Megan Fox (I used to have a crush on her way back when I was young and horny). I’m not going to lie this was pretty entertaining. I loved watching her curse and get incredibly frustrated with each new hurdle that popped up around her, plus the mystery of why her husband would do such a colossally disturbing, dickish thing was mildly intriguing. I’d only really RECOMMEND this to viewers wanting a dark and disturbing thriller that veers towards the unconventional, and people who were/are fans of Megan Fox. CW: Strong adult language. Brief sexual content and innuendo. Graphic on-screen suicide. Graphic blood, gore, and deaths. Violence. Brief scene of drowning. Brief mention of infidelity.
Freaky (2020) [HBO]: A horror, slasher comedy about an awkward teenage girl who ends up swapping bodies with a deadly and maniacal serial killer. Okay, this was my favourite film out of the whole month (not including Scooby-Doo stuff, of course). It’s just so over-the-top cheesy and hilarious. It makes fun of traditional slasher tropes, has some fantastically gruesome death scenes, and also has a cast of characters that made me laugh-out-loud quite consistently. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for fans of satirical horror comedies that absolutely don’t take itself seriously at all. CW: Graphic scenes of blood, gore, mutilation, and violence. Strong language. Strong sexual content. Attempted rape. Some brief sexism and homophobia. Teenage alcohol and substance consumption. Consumption of food.
Jumanji (1995) [Netflix]: An action-adventure film about a kid in the late 60s who finds a strange board game in a construction site. He takes it home, starts it up with a friend, and realises that it’s the most terrifying thing he’s ever encountered. When I saw this on Netflix, I screamed out loud from joy. This film is a quintessential title of my childhood, and what initiated my adoration for Robin Williams. Watching it again after all these years, made me cry and laugh and miss him very, very much. It’s a wonderful action-adventure film that’s great to see with your loved ones. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. CW: Adventure violence. Some scary imagery. Depiction of large insects and city-wide destruction. Some crude humour and brief adult language.
House of Wax (2005) [HBO]: A horror film about a group of horny teens that take a road-trip to sneak into a football game. But when their car breaks down, they have to turn to a local small town for help, where a basic stop for car parts turns into a brutal fight of their lives. I only watched this because I was bored and I really wanted to watch Paris Hilton die. Was it worth it? Eh, kind of. The film isn’t the best, but it also isn’t as bad as people have made it out to be. You can tell that the modern remake takes a lot of inspiration from the 1979 cult hit, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The deaths were… very gross and disturbing, and I’ll probably never go to a wax museum in my existence. In that sense, it does what it’s supposed to. It’s creepy, heavily unsettling, and mildly entertaining for people that like small-town horror akin to the classic mentioned above. Overall, I’d RECOMMEND it. CW: Strong adult language. Some sexual content and innuendo. Some nudity. Graphic body horror, blood, and gore. Depiction of child abuse, negative and harmful discussion of deformities, and physical torture. Graphic depiction of mass bloody pile of dead animal carcasses.
San Andreas (2015) [HBO]: A disaster action film about a rescue air dispatcher dude who goes in search of his family after a catastrophic earthquake strikes the Western coastline of the USA. Dwayne Johnson. That’s the one of two reasons I watched this. The second was it being a disaster film (I can’t resist most of ‘em for some reason). It was very good. It’s less about the disaster and more about the family that’s trying not to lose one another in the face of this chaotic event. There is a lot of tension and suspense, and the acting and special effects aren’t too bad either. If you’re a fan of disaster movies, then you may enjoy this one. RECOMMENDED. CW: Lots of disturbing disaster and apocalyptic action, scenery, and imagery. Some language. Depictions of death and injuries.
Dune (2021) [HBO]: An epic science-fiction film about a family who is charged with taking up spice operations on the planet Arrakis, where they get embroiled in a dangerous political scheme of vengeance and dominance. I wanted to hate this movie. Fuck, I desperately tried to hate this movie. Dune is my favourite book of all-time. I have 20ish different editions of the first book alone, and it’s the novel that defines my entire expansive of love and admiration for the sci-fi genre (probably my whole identity as a reader too). All previous films and mini-serials haven’t come close to doing it an ounce of justice, especially with respect to the Shai Hulud (sandworms). But this… this was phenomenal. I’m still a bit uncertain about Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides, but everyone else was fabulously stellar. I can’t wait for Part Two to hit screens soon-ish. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for hardcore fans of the Frank Herbert Dune books, as well as folx that love cerebral epic sci-fi with intense political intrigue. CW: Strong violence, action, and adventure. Mass deaths. Poisoning. Some disturbing imagery. Brief language.
Down a Dark Hall (2018) [HBO]: A Gothic horror suspense film about a delinquent teen girl that gets taken to a fancy academy for special girls. Upon arriving, she notices her classmates each becoming obsessively brilliant at specific subjects, while seeing sinister spectres hovering around them. My search for a dark academia, Gothic title led me to this. It’s beautifully shot with plenty of artistic designs and surrealistic effects, but the story itself was somewhat unsatisfactory. It was just a bit too straightforward and linear. There wasn’t any real depth or intrigue to hold on to the mounting suspense, which then let the tension fizzle out. Great potential and premise, but average as hell execution. As such, I felt INDIFFERENT about it as a whole, however some folx interested in Gothic ghost stories may find it curious. CW: Some strong language. Disturbing imagery. Discussions of child abuse and sexual abuse. Death of loved ones. Depiction of waning mental health illnesses. Consumption and preparation of food. Arson and burning bodies.
Basic Instinct (1992) [HBO]: An erotic crime thriller about a detective who’s investigating the murder of a rock star. As he finagles out the details, he finds himself falling closer and closer to the potential culprit in life-threatening ways. This film is so iconic and everyone I know who loves crime thrillers has been yelling at me to watch this. So… I finally did. While I can see why it was so damn popular, as a crime thriller, I felt it wasn’t as special as it’s coined to be. The sex is what really makes this film so risqué and popular. There’s even one exchange that occurs that I would question as borderline rape, but that’s just me. Everything else is pretty basic for the genre (get it? Basic? I know, I’m a riot). All in all, my rating for it was INDIFFERENT. CW: Strong, graphic sexual content. Strong language and nudity. Strong blood. Some violence. Questionable rape scene. Alcohol consumption. Graphic depiction of car accident.
Thirteen Ghosts (2001) [HBO]: A supernatural horror film about a family that inherits a very special house in the wake of a relative’s death. After visiting this fancy house, they discover that there’s some seriously shady stuff going on within the walls. Madame Gabs recommended this to me when I asked for spooky supernatural suggestions, and she knew I really liked House on Haunted Hill. This wasn’t a bad film. I liked the premise of the house. While it’s quite an extraordinary place, I would never ever want to live in a place like that. It’s so eerie and revealing and that adds to the ambiance and atmosphere of discomfort that fills the film. I also liked seeing a family trying to survive versus a bunch of idiotic teens and kids in their early twenties. All in all, I’d RECOMMEND this to watchers of supernatural horror and films about houses that can kill you. CW: Graphic blood, gore, and violence. Strong language. Strong disturbing imagery. Nudity.
The next five films are all Scooby-Doo films. It’s a tradition for me to watch Scooby films on and around Halloween. I loved them all, so to save time, I’ll just give a brief snippet on what level of recommendation I’d give for ‘em.
Scooby-Doo! Haunted Holidays (2012) [HBO]: Scooby and the gang help out a local toy store owner when he starts being haunted by a spooky snowman type baddy. Wintery and snowy holiday Scooby mysteries are my favourite, and this is definitely no exception to that rule. I just wish it was slightly longer. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Scooby-Doo & Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2018) [HBO]: Batman inducts the Scooby gang into Gotham’s super-secret detectives-only club. As newbies, they get to pick the next case to solve and they decided to help the Bats solve the only mystery he’s never been able to wrap-up. OHMYGOD, THE CHEESY LINES AND ALL THE PUNS, BATMAN. It was glorious. Gloriously cringey and outrageous and hilarious. Plus, Aquaman is such a fucking dumbass. It made my whole ass day. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for fans of the DC heroes depicted in a super satirical manner.
Scooby-Doo! Shaggy’s Showdown (2017) [HBO]: Shaggy is invited to a neat ranch by his cousin, where he runs into the ghoul of an old ancestor with a wickedly evil reputation. The ghoul also happens to be scaring everyone out of town and looks just like the Shagster. It’s up to Shaggy, Scooby, and the gang to clear both Shaggy’s and his ancestor’s name before the ranch is gone for good. This was such a fun film! I normally don’t like Westerns, but seeing Shaggy finally get his day in the spotlight was so sweet and exciting. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED especially if you like old-school Western type stuff.
Scooby Doo in Pirates Ahoy (2006) [HBO]: Fred’s parents take him out on a cruise for his birthday. When the ship is hijacked by pirates, Fred, his parents, and his precious gang must solve the mystery before terrible things befall everyone on board the cruise ship. I expected this to be my favourite Scooby film because I love pirates, but I was a bit disappointed by Fred’s parents. I’m so used to the shady Mayor from Mystery Incorporated (TV series) that the Missouri-esque parents shown here tossed me for a loop. RECOMMENDED nonetheless because it’s good, oceanic fun!
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare (2010) [HBO]: Fred takes the gang to the summer camp he frequented when he was a kid, this time as a camp counsellor. But when he gets there, he finds his kiddish camp utterly deserted due to some ghost with a hand-axe haunting the grounds. This reminded me of a Scooby-Doo version of all the camp slasher films I grew up on, but it was cuter. I loved the environment and I even liked the crime. It was so much more elaborate for a Scooby film than the normal. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Grim Seasons 1 & 2 (2011-12) [Prime]: A supernatural drama series about a cop who’s also a Grimm, a dude that can see spoopy folx for what they really are. It’s a crime procedural show with spoopy elements and it was a perfect fit for the Halloween mood I had going on. I blew through the first two seasons very fast and I’m excited to keep moving forward with it through November. If you like supernatural cop shows, you’ll definitely love this one. RECOMMENDED. General CW (vary by episode): Action and violence. Blood and gore. Some language. Some mild sexual content. Alcohol and drug consumption. Preparation and consumption of food.
Pretty Little Liars Seasons 1 & 2 (2010-11) [Prime]: A young adult mystery series about a group of four teen girls that are relentlessly being cyberbullied in the wake of their friend’s one year anniversary disappearance and death. This is 1000% an indulgent show that I re-watch every year during the Autumn season, and I only watch the first four and a half seasons. Everything after that is absolute crap. Indulgences aside, I’d mostly rate the quality as INDIFFERENT. It is full of plot holes, so much teenage angst, and tons of ridiculously unbelievable situations. I live for it haha. General CW (vary by episode): Some language. Some mild sexual content. Bullying. Homophobia. Sexism. Depiction of physical and mental disabilities including mental institutionalisation. Brief mention of eating disorders. Depiction of toxic female friendships and passive aggressive behaviours. Infidelity. Preparation and consumption of food. Drug and alcohol consumption.
Evil Season 1 (2019) [Netflix]: A supernatural mystery drama about a priest, a Muslim IT dude, and a psychologist that work together to unravel paranormal claims by the common people, mostly to see if they are indeed part of the unexplained or just pranks and set-ups for hype and attention. Picked it up on a whim back in September (oops a little late) and watched the whole season. I wasn’t sure about the cast, but they all have such marvellous chemistry and complement one another so damn well. I liked to see how they worked on the cases, bringing their individual experiences and expertise to the table. It was nice to see people of different backgrounds and faiths building such cool rapport and working together rather than attacking one another over stupid shit. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. General CW (vary by episode): Some language. Some sexual content and innuendo. Strong depiction of debilitating mental health illnesses. Some strong supernatural imagery. Some sexism and homophobic comments. Preparation and consumption of food.
Castlevania Season 4 (2021) [HBO]: In this horror, action-adventure series, Trevor, Sypha, and Alucard work to keep Dracula from being resurrected, as well as to protect the people from vicious night creatures. WHAT A SEASON! I’m so sad it’s over. It was everything I wanted and needed it to be and I enjoyed every second of it. If you’re a fan of the video game franchise, then this animated adaptation is a much watch for you, just know that it’s definitely not for kids. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. General CW (vary by episode): Graphic language. Graphic violence, action, blood, gore, body mutilation, and deaths. Some sexual content. Cannibalism. Enslavement. Alcohol consumption. Consumption of food. Depiction of starving people including children.
Locke & Key Season 2 (2021) [HBO]: A supernatural fantasy series about a family who survived a terrible and traumatic event. In order to start anew in the aftermath of this horrible incident, they moved to a small town called Matheson, and an old family home where the kids discover that the house has many magically mysterious secrets. I wrote a post sharing five reasons why y’all should watch this, so I won’t talk about it much here. All I’ll say is that Season 2 was so good. It was emotional, intense, wonderfully written, and wrapped up everything nicely. There’s still a couple things to build off of in case of a third season, but if we don’t get it, I’d still be satisfied with how it all came to its finale. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. General CW (vary by episode): Some language. Some mild sexual content. High school bullying. Preparation and consumption of food. Some disturbing supernatural imagery. Death of loved ones. Depiction of alcoholism.
I don’t have anything special planned for November in terms of watching the things. The only real thing on my streaming docket is to finish my annual seasonal re-visit of Pretty Little Liars (up to mid-season five), and then to catch a few more Scooby-Doo films that I haven’t seen yet. Aside from that it’s going to be a mood-by-mood basis, which means plenty o’ random shtick for the eyes to see. Hopefully they’ll be decent delights.